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made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Clinometer.
© National Museums Scotland


A clinometer is a surveying instrument used for measuring the angle of inclination. This brass example was designed by physician and amateur scientist Dr James Lind and made around 1770 by John Miller, a scientific instrument maker based in Edinburgh.

The instrument comes in a wooden carrying box, and is assembled and its stand screwed into the top of the lid to form a base. The instrument can then be levelled, using a bubble level. Readings are taken through the sight, measuring the angle from the horizon.

James Lind (1736-1812) was one of John Miller's patrons. He had a strong interest in astronomy. His letters to Lord Loudoun provided the main descriptive source for the early phase of Miller's Edinburgh business.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-758-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1974.L.12
Date: Around 1770
c. 1770
Who: James Lind (Maker)
John Miller (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Brass clinometer, designed by James Lind and made by John Miller, Edinburgh, c. 1770
  • Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C. Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1989. pp 27,29,55 
  • Described and illustrated in Ewing, A., The Synopsis of Practical Mathematics. Edinburgh: 1771, pp v-vi 
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